binocular wrote: ↑
Fri Dec 06, 2019 8:58 pm
Think of the dangers and negative effects of watching tv (watching tv is the quintessential medium for developing parasocial relationships), to list some here:
Before going through the list you provided, i am wondering why psychologists/social scientists who spend time to invent all these terms (to make money for a living similar to TV celebrities) to measure people's sanity are not themselves pathological and spreading parasocial interactions? Their writings and publications provides a persona where wikipedia is one possible medium that sells an idea of "un-flawed independent character" which causes the reader to develop illusions of intimacy, friendship, and identification with the ideal presented by those psychologists? They seem to have significant influence on some of the users of their materials, and this kind of communication/relationship is a one way traffic where rarely the users of these publications have the chance to directly interact/communicate with the authors.
1. One-way communication becomes the norm. The audience is taught, implicitly, "Other people are allowed to talk, but I am only allowed to listen."
I don't see any danger in that. From my observations, most people spend hours watching TV or social media, and that does not seem to effect their daily social interactions. In fact, if what you say is true, we would be living in a world where we have more good listeners, but this is evidently not true
2. The illusion of acceptance by the media persona is created. The viewer has no idea how they would be treated by that person in actual communication. Chances are that they'd be rejected, due to difference in socio-economic status. If the media persona is fictional (such as a character in a film), the suspense about the potential acceptance/rejection is infnite, but the anxiety that the viewer feels about it is real, with real adverse consequences for the quality of their life.
My mother watches TV day and night, i never noticed the illusion of "being accepted by the media persona" you are talking about.
3. Cognitive passivity is developed. Not only in terms of passively viewing the programme, but, worse, in terms of "Oh, it's better that I don't listen too carefully, and don't pay too much attention, because if I do, I will probably have questions, but since there's noone with whom I can discuss them, they're just going to fester in my mind and trouble me."
Most people watch TV for excitement and amusement, so their intentions to begin with has nothing to do with listening too carefully. Also people's addiction to TV in my view is a manifestation of their meaningless everyday life, so any troubles arise in their mind through watching TV is merely accidental. Keep in mind that even those who don't watch TV are not necessarily less troubled.
4. The viewer gets/internalizes unrealistic ideas about effort and what it takes to accomplish something. Via tv programmes, one gets, in the best case, a summarized account of what it takes to accomplish something; such summarized accounts can leave out much important information that would be relevant for the particular viewer. Worse yet, tv programmes sometimes give grossly idealized presentations about work and effort. (TV characters don't stink when they work.) This sets one up for sub-optimal coping with difficulty in real life.
I don't see how this is different from everyday interactions. When people share experiences whether through TV or in normal life, they provide summarized accounts whether it has to do with success or anything else. It probably has more to do with the evolution of conventional reality which is based on accessibility, simplicity and comprehensibility rather than to convey an overly accurate account of how things really are. In fact, maybe expecting social interactions (and language) to go beyond that is in itself delusional.
5. In order to keep viewing the programmes, the viewer has to compensate for the apparent lacks and downsides of television, and this is done by developing feelings of admiration, adoration for the media persona, at the cost of one's own good feelings about oneself and making an effort oneself in one's life.
I don't see developing feelings of admiration and adoration for someone to be mutually exclusive with having good feelings about oneself as you are presenting., nor do i see people's admiration of TV personas to be an attempt to compensate for the lacks and downsides of television.
Listening to a religious/spiritual teacher can have the exact same negative effects.
Pending you accept those negative effects to be real. In fact, learning from teachers through books or media lessens the risk of the student getting infatuated with the teacher's personality.
Now, the question is, what needs to be in place for the person (who is merely an audience, not a participant in a reciprocal relationship) who is listening to a religious/spiritual teacher or reading their texts, so that the above negative effects don't occur?
Possibly, to keep on avoiding reciprocal relationship with the teacher. I remember reading one of your old posts describing how happy you were when you began reading the suttas on your own, and how this has changed when you began interacting with real Buddhists.
Clearly, not everyone who is listening to a religious/spiritual teacher or reading their texts experiences these same negative effects. So what do such people have that those who do experience those negative effects don't have, and vice versa?
It is the nature of social interactions that is not pleasant generally speaking, and this has nothing to do with religious spiritual teacher or anyone else. You might find the following parable by Arthur Schopenhauer relevant:
A number of porcupines huddled together for warmth on a cold day in winter; but, as they began to prick one another with their quills, they were obliged to disperse. However the cold drove them together again, when just the same thing happened. At last, after many turns of huddling and dispersing, they discovered that they would be best off by remaining at a little distance from one another. In the same way the need of society drives the human porcupines together, only to be mutually repelled by the many prickly and disagreeable qualities of their nature. The moderate distance which they at last discover to be the only tolerable condition of intercourse, is the code of politeness and fine manners; and those who transgress it are roughly told — in the English phrase — to keep their distance. By this arrangement the mutual need of warmth is only very moderately satisfied; but then people do not get pricked. A man who has some heat in himself prefers to remain outside, where he will neither prick other people nor get pricked himself.
And the Blessed One addressed the bhikkhus, saying: "Behold now, bhikkhus, I exhort you: All compounded things are subject to vanish. Strive with earnestness!"
This was the last word of the Tathagata.